How I did it: Started with a small family tree, headed to the town where most of the relatives were buried, brought as much information as I knew with me in a 3 ring binder. Got advice from a couple of websites on what to bring on a genealogy road trip to be successful. That was a huge help and kept us from wasting time. Contacted the cemetery and the churches for info. Try to get as much info as possible from living relatives. Tried to remember stories I was told as a child. Maintained a sense of humor. Read how I did it… 5 years ago
I am in the same boat right now – when I travel home to upstate New York to check in on my mother who has early onset Alzheimer’s (diagnosed at age 58), I always make sure to take time out for me.
The last trip in early March meant a stop at the Montrepose Cemetery in Kingston, NY and then a short trip over to the New Paltz Rural Cemetery. Even though it was cold and there was snow on the ground, it was my time for me. Of course, I still was thinking of Mom but it helped balance out the trip for me.
I will be doing more of this over the next few months as we get to the final stages of my mother’s disease. Little side trips can really be a respite from all the emotions involved in such visits.
http://destinationaustinfamily.blogspot.com 6 years ago
During the last 18 months of my father’s life & 8 months of step-mother’s life, I provided in-home care giving, and coordination of home health and hospice nurse care.
Though they were each frail (one had congestive heart failure and the other had Lewey Body Dementia) their favorite thing to do was to go for a ride in the car to some of the old places they knew and loved in the greater Seattle area.
Sometimes there were challenges with two people in wheelchairs, but the joy on their faces was worth the small effort in comparison.
Sometimes owing to their stamina, we could only drove by the old spots, and sing the usual old songs during the drive. It is amazing the old family stories that come to light at times like this.
Dad would tell me “You used to have such a beautiful voice.” The reason I could hardly sing a note was the emotions of the moment placed my heart in my throat, where those musical notes should have come forth. I would just smile through the tears of joy at realizing how precious these moments were to experience and to tuck away as precious memories once they were gone.
After Mom passed away, Dad was shy about meeting people, so we took trips around the Olympic Peninsula, and out to the ocean. We’d think nothing of driving up to Mt. Vernon for a slice of the mile-high lemon meringue pie.
Though he could no longer remember where the graves were in the cemetery up on Queen Anne Hill, I did, and it made him happy to know that these places will not be forgotten. 6 years ago
I went to Portland and researched stuff there. Went to the cemetary but wasn’t sure it was the right cemetary so that was disappointing. Found out a lot about what to do on my next trip. But also, was able to borrow a whole lot of photos and then scan them in from one of my cousins and then also stopped by my cousin in Medford on the way back and was able to look at and photograph some old photos. Definitely fun. And I can see it getting better and better as I get the hang of it. So I’m up for doing another trip this year. 8 years ago
My grandfather does most of the genealogy research in the family, so a few years ago my wife and I drove my grandparents back to his hometown of Paris, TX to clear up a few things he was looking for. Given his age, it was really sad to hear him say that he expected it to be the last time he went back. In any case, I saw his old home, his parents’ graves, etc. When we went looking for some other gravesites behind a Baptist church, I wandered into the back, really old section, and recognized some last names as being that of his mother’s family. When I brought him over to see, he was excited to realize that they were his great-grandparents! He knew their names and approximate dates but didn’t have any real information on them. It was a moment I’ll never forget.
Genealogy trips don’t always have to involve processing stacks of documents in the local courthouse or library. They can be a wonderful way to connect your (living) family even closer. 9 years ago
No dates or anything yet. That’s the major missing ingredient. But, I would like to go:
-North from SF to Medford where I have a 65-year-old cousin whose Mom (my Dad’s sister) died and must have a bunch of old photos and keepsakes to look through.
-Then in Portland, my great-grandfather was buried in nearby Aloha, so I want to find his gravestone and photograph it and see if there’s some other info at the cemetary.
-Then my Mom was born in Elgin, Oregon, so I would like to go to the county courthouse there and see what I can find.
-And my grandfather, Leonard Frakes died in Seattle and I could research that. This kind of travel really is fun. The exploration and detective work is hard to beat! Hopefully, I can recruit trip-mates to go with me to these places.
Besides putting this trip in my calendar, I should probably be doing some preliminary long-distance research to get the ball rolling. According to Long-Distance Genealogy, you can save an incredible amount of time and get a lot better results if you’ve made some contacts and even set up appointments in advance.
It’s hard for me to be that planful, but perhaps saying it here will get me to try sending some letters of inquiry. The book gives you a bunch of actual sample letters to use. It’s really good. 9 years ago